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What a turnaround

Cruises given go-ahead to start and end in Liverpool

Published on May 22nd 2012.


What a turnaround

AFTER more than a year of wrangling that has seen unseemly spats with the port of Southampton, the Government has given its blessing to cruise ships starting and ending their voyages in Liverpool. 

It follows a year-long consultation over turnaround which has resulted in the city council agreeing to abide by a ruling over paying back most of the £9.2m Government grant that was received for the construction of the facility. 

An independent arbiter was brought in to make a recommendation because the terminal, which opened in 2007, was funded on the basis that it would be a “call in” facility. 

Shipping Minister Mike Penning has said a one-off payment of £8.8m, or £12.6m spread over 15 years, would be sufficient for restrictions to be lifted. 

Southampton has 65 percent of the UK cruise marketSouthampton has 65 percent of the UK cruise market

The Southampton Daily Echo observed: “The statement will anger some in the Southampton camp by offering the chance to spread payments until 2027. And it makes no reference to a separate EU grant of around £8.6 million, which Liverpool has not offered to repay.”

However Mayor Joe has said the EU has not asked for the money back and if and when it does, he will cross that bridge then. 

In the meantime, it's all systems go on the waterfront. A temporary customs and baggage building, parking and drop off facilities is almost complete opposite the current facility on Princes Parade and will be ready in time for the arrival of the first turnaround vessel – the 17,000 tonne Ocean Countess in just a week's time ( Tuesday 29 May). 

Hotel

Mayor Joe believes the decision was a turning point for the city's fortunes. “This is the moment the whole city has been waiting for,” he said. “It is a hugely significant milestone in our future and vitally important to the success of our local economy," he said in a statement. 

For far too long, holiday makers in the north have had to travel to and from other places to start their journeys.” 

The temporary building is being leased during the cruise season from 2012-2015 to provide check in, baggage drop and reclaim, as well as customs and border facilities, and a new internal road has also been created.  Plans for a permanent facility including a hotel will be drawn up in the longer term, the city council said. 

It forecasts the turnaround facility will have around a five percent share of an expanding UK cruise market. Southampton currently has a market share of over 65 percent. 

The Ocean Countess is scheduled to visit 12 times during the 2012 cruise season. In addition, a total of 20 ‘day call’ vessels are also confirmed, with around 30,000 passengers expected, generating up to £6 million for the local economy, according to the council. 

Riverside MP Louise Ellman described it as a momentous decision, and a "major breakthrough for Liverpool’s economy, bringing jobs and investment".

She added: "This is an excellent example of the partnership between the city council and its MPs. We have lobbied Shipping Minister Mike Penning on this issue and I am delighted with this great result for Liverpool."

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

MikeyBMay 22nd 2012.

Good news but, as Liverpool has to repay £9.2m to the Government plus a possible £8.6m to the EU, it will be many years before the cruise terminal will be making any real profits.

T BeejayMay 22nd 2012.

This is mighty depressing - they are a blight on any city that hosts them, but lets chase that dollar whatever the cost eh?

efcmark777May 22nd 2012.

Strange one that... A "blight on any city that hosts them". I define a blight as things like the ten year planning blight around Anfield thanks to the disgraceful way LFC have been allowed stall on a new stadium. Or the blight that is some parts of north and central Liverpool with way too many shops and offices closed thnks to the Condems pathetic mis mgt of the economy. Or that garden festival site or rubbish left in the city centre....all far more of a blight than a turnaround cruise terminal that can bring jobs to our city and spread the word about how much we have to,offer the visitor.

Iain ScottMay 22nd 2012.

Exactly.

Queen MaryMay 22nd 2012.

It'll make money in the long run, but far bigger blights have been permanently built around our waterfront because our politicians suck up to the big property developers.
A cruise terminal is no threat to our World Heritage Site status. On the other hand big ugly blocks of flats and a outsized ferry terminal off Thunderbirds are.

MikeyBMay 23rd 2012.

Without big property developers Liverpool city centre would have remained trapped in a decaying 1950s timewarp. The waterfront needs continued development, particularly north of Princes Dock or else it will remain a windswept wasteland.

R. A. MateMay 23rd 2012.

Like the richest part of London that attracts all the tourists is in a decaying 1890s 'timewarp'?

AnonymousMay 23rd 2012.

I can just imagine some of the backward looking conspiracy theorists who post some of the nonsense above walking round Albert dock, sucking their teeth and muttering "yes, it's all very nice, but it was far better when the buildings were falling down and the dock full of silt and shopping trolleys"
Wake up you whingers and move on!

D. VeloperMay 24th 2012.

Pity poor Venice, stuck in a 17th century timewarp!

They really ought to get Peel Holdings in to build some tin sheds and a few enormous blocks of flats right in the centre of the lagoon to give the old dump a more modern image.

M. OnkeymanMay 24th 2012.

Poor old Venice, also saddled with a World Heritage Status that suffocates business and development!

They should scrap it and sell off all that architectural salvage they have to dealers working for property developers building for the rich in London, like Liverpool did.

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